Give Yourself a Gold Star

How is this for a different idea for you? If you sometimes feel like you keep messing things up (yes, I’ve been there), like everything you touch seems to turn to mud, how about giving yourself a gold star?

Yes, a gold star.

Early in school, teachers would reward us kids with gold stars or some other sticker (dolphins, horses, and of course other shiny stars in red, blue and green) as an incentive to motivate us to do better, to improve. Just giving yourself a formal recognition that “I did it!” will boost your self-confidence and self-esteem … and how happy you feel.

You will want to do better to earn more praise and more recognition.

Where to place the gold star? On your “to do” list, as you cross off another item accomplished. In your journal beside each thing you accomplished today. Maybe you know of a better place in your own life.

Give yourself a gold star every time you accomplish something, even something small and mundane. Because accomplishment is never mundane.

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The Secret to Motivation

What is the single best way to become a truly motivated person?  Yes, this is a trick question.

Motivate others.

That’s right, if you keep lighting sparks of enthusiasm under friends, family, colleagues and neighbors, you will notice an awe-inspiring transformation in your own attitude.  Sparks of enthusiasm will ignite on you, as well.  You, too, will be motivated.

It is virtually impossible to encourage people around you to shoot for their dreams, to go for goal, to reach for the brass ring without getting excited about your own.  The more you encourage others, the more the excitement carries you with it.

Think about all the people you know, or at least those you know well enough.  What are their dreams?  What are their goals?  Make an effort to find out.  Then make an effort to help out.  I guarantee that your life will be richer for your efforts.

Want to help motivate people starting right now, pass along this blog post on Twitter or FaceBook or Pinterest (buttons to the right).

READ ALSO: Zig Ziglar motivational quotes

Perseverance – Words to Motivate

Just in case anybody reading this needs a little inspiration, something to give them a kick in the backside, to keep persevering like Frodo did through Mordor even when all hope was gone and he could barely keep his eyes open, here are a few words from Mark Helprin to help:

“From long familiarity, we know what honor is. It is what enables the individual to do right in the face of complacency and cowardice. It is what enables the soldier to die alone, the political prisoner to resist, the singer to sing her song, hardly appreciated, on a side street.”

Honor is doing the right thing – or at least the thing you should do – and not complaining about it, but doing it with pride.  Honor is doing it even if outside forces try to stop you through whatever means, be it force or even just leering eyes.

(And may you never suffer trials as bleak and punishing as those Frodo faced.)

How to inspire your kids to greatness

To be able to go on to do great things, children need encouragement and inspiration. A child will try his or her best when a parent’s support is behind them. Sometimes it’s not easy to figure out exactly how to help kids with this, but there are some things you can do that are sure to inspire.

Follow Your Child’s Bliss

Pay attention to what your child loves. If he or she loves art, encourage the creation of paintings, sculptures, drawings, or whichever media they have an interest in and keep plenty of art materials on hand. If you notice your child looking at the stars and gravitating toward astronomy topics, make plans for trips to a planetarium. Know what your child is interested in and feed that interest in every way possible.

Give Your Child New Experiences

There is nothing like learning about different cultures and seeing new things to open a child’s mind. It isn’t necessary to take a trip to Japan or Africa to accomplish this. Learning about how things are done in a culture on the other side of the world can show a child that all humans are different and interesting. Going to plays, ballets performances, and museums also fall into this category.

Turn off the Electronics

On at least one night a week, turn off the television, computers, phones, and any other gadget that the family is attached to, and have the family create something together. Any child, regardless of interests, should learn to create. Whether you paint something on a canvas, put together a birdhouse, or build a piece of play equipment for the back yard, make something that your child can see every day and be proud of helping to create.

Look into Extracurricular

Whether it’s a day camp for a particular interest, Scouts youth organization, or sports team, get your child into some extracurricular activity. This gives kids the opportunity to work with other kids outside of a school atmosphere. It is important that your child be interested, though. Some children won’t mesh well with all activities.

Expect Good Things, but Don’t Go Too Far

Letting your child know what you expect in terms of school and activities is a good thing. But be careful not to apply too much pressure. Becoming angry when one of their activities doesn’t work out the way you expected it to will only discourage your child. Celebrate over your child’s efforts toward something, rather than only rewarding a perfect result. Also realize that not all children will be good at everything. It may take a few tries before you and your child figure out the best activities and interests for him or her.

In conclusion, do not underestimate the importance of building your own inspiration as a parent. Read parenting books, discover inspiring family quotes, exchange with other parents and do not hesitate to try new activities.

And do not forget, the key is to spend quality time with your child. This is something your child will remember forever.

About the author: David is the manager of, an interactive database containing close to 30,000 quotes and citations from famous people and popular movies. This post has been featured in the Spring Homeschool Carnival and the Garden of Learning homeschooling carnival.

Motivational songs – music that motivates

Some songs have the power to motivate.  The lyrics can be as powerful as any motivational speech.  The music can get our hearts pumping.  The words and tune can play in our heads all day long.

Below is a list of some of the best motivational songs (mostly English, some French and Spanish).  It is far, far from being a complete list, so feel free to add your favorites to the list using the comments form at the bottom.

Man in Motion (from St. Elmo’s Fire)

Makin’ It (from the short-lived TV show of the same name)

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

The Greatest Love of All (the ultimate self-esteem song of all time)

Have a Happy (yes, Elvis)

Change of Habit (yes, also Elvis)

I Have Been Blessed (by Martina McBride)

Point of Light (the Randy Travers classic)

My Way (the ultimate classic motivational song by Paul Anka)

Et C’est Pas Fini (the theme song from Star Académie, 1996)

Peace of Mind (by Boston)

Standing Outside the Fire (by Garth Brooks)

Closer to the Heart (Canadian motivation )

Do You Know Where You’re Going to? (from the Mahogany)

There You Are (by Clink Black)

Une Promesse (by Cindy Daniel)

Lean on Me

Dream Never Dies (more Canadian Motivation)

Hold On (by Triumph…the song that helped me in my teen years)

Believe it or Not (from the Greatest American Hero TV show)

Una Cancion (RBD)

Living Out Loud (by Aaron Lines)

The Eye of the Tiger (from Rocky III, I believe)

All Fired Up (Pat Benetar)

Don’t Stop (another one that helped me during those roller coaster teenage years)

The Kid is Hot Tonight (by Loverboy)

If I rummaged through my MP3s, my CDs and my old record collection, I am sure I could find dozens of other motivational songs and possibly even some music that motivates without lyrics.  The one listed here are the ones that come to mind first for me.  But now, over to you.  What songs do you find most motivational?

TWEET this post.

…added January 20, 2009:

What a Feeling (from the movie Flashdance)

I’m Alive (by ELO)

Hold on Tight (also by ELO)

Walk On (by Rea)

Swing on a Star (was that Bing Crosby)

On Top of the World (by the Carpenters)

I Will Survive (Gloria Gayner’s anthem)

Light in Your Eyes (by Leann Rimes)

We Are the Champions (by Queen)

Winning (by Santana)

Don’t Forget to Dance (by the Kinks)

We Shall Be Free (by Garth Brooks)

Free Will (by Rush)

The Rose (by Bette Midler)